• Each month, the PLT staff compiles a list of grant opportunities, contests, webinars, professional development opportunities, interactive models, videos, and other multimedia tools to help educators conduct PLT activities in new and creative ways.

November 2016

Project Polar Bear
(resource for PreK-8’s “Publicize It!,“ “The Global Climate,” “In the Driver’s Seat,” “Our Changing World,” “Improve Your Place,” and PLT GreenSchools)
Project Polar Bear challenges students to take action on climate change. With the guidance of an advisor, middle and high school groups compete for grant funds by creating a plan for a project that will help reduce their community’s reliance on fossil fuels. The 2016-17 project categories include Transportation, Energy Savings, Sustainable Food Systems, and Community Engagement Through Art and Advocacy. Students and advisors track their progress throughout the competition through photos, research, and on social media, and the project culminates in a formal proposal to a judging panel. The top three teams will receive a grant of $1,000, $750, and $300, respectively, to continue their projects. Registration is open Oct 1 – Nov 25, 2016. Teams work on their projects through March 15, 2017 and winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.

BioInteractive Science Education Resources
(resource for PreK-8’s “Environmental Exchange Box,“ “Viewpoints on the Line,” Biodiversity’s “Global Invaders,” and the Biotechnology module)
BioInteractive’s award-winning multimedia resources can help bring the excitement of scientific discovery into your classroom. In addition to apps, animations, videos, interactives, and virtual labs, BioInteractive also provides teacher guides and classroom activities to supplement theses resources.

12 Huia Birds
(resource for PreK-8’s “Life on the Edge” and Biodiversity’s “Protected Areas”)
Do you know the story of the majestic vanished huia bird?

It is one of the great tragedies in New Zealand conservation history. The story of this sacred bird with the curved beak and white-tipped tail feathers is one we can all learn from as we look to care for our environment today and in the years to come. Learn more about this special bird through interactive elements on each page of this richly illustrated story.

Interactive Map Shows World’s Changing Forest
(resource for PreK-8’s “Then and Now,” Focus on Forests’ “Monitoring Forest Health,” “Climate Change and Forests,” and Forests of the World’s “Mapping the World’s Forests,” “Analyzing Patterns of Forest Change,” and “Researching Forests Around the World”)
Curious about how forest cover has changed during the past several years in your area- or beyond? This interactive online map allows you to see forest loss around the world. Researchers found that the dynamics of forests in the south-east United States are unique. As a result of an intense cycle of tree planting and harvesting, the disturbance rate in this area was four times that of South American rainforests during the study period (2000-2012). The map displays not only forest cover (green), but also areas of forest loss (red), forest gain (blue), and places where there was both loss and gain (purple) over this time period.

Interactive Water Cycle Resource
(resource for PreK-8’s “Every Drop Counts,” “Water Wonders,” “Field, Forest, and Stream,” “Watch on Wetlands,” PLT GreenSchools Water Investigation, and Places We Live’s “Regional Community Issues: The Ogallala Aquifer”)
The U.S. Geological Survey recently released a new resource about the water cycle, designed for schools and students. This interactive water cycle resource, which can also be downloaded in image format, shows the various stages, actors, and components of the cycle in three different versions for various ages and a variety of languages.

Farm Academy LIVE (resource for PreK-8’s “Pass the Plants, Please,” and PLT GreenSchools School Site Investigation)
Farm Academy Live is a FREE, interactive, video conferencing program built to meet the Common Core State Standards for grades 3-4. Through hands-on, engaging activities, students witness agricultural production and processing methods they may never be able to experience otherwise. Using the latest video conferencing technology, the 45-60 minute lessons are taught by a Farm Academy Live teacher providing students with a virtual field trip to an agricultural destination. Students learn about where their food and fiber comes from, and meet the farmers who produce the products they have grown to love. Raw products are sent directly into the classroom for the students to physically touch and see.

Access to PLT’s Student Pages
In case you missed our previous communications, PLT state coordinators, facilitators, and PLT-trained educators in your state now need to register on PLT.org and login to access the Student Pages and other resources for PLT’s activities. We have been fielding calls from states about this, and have prepared a sample communication below for you to share with your network:

We hope you have had a chance to explore Project Learning Tree’s new website, www.plt.org. Please note, you now need to login to access the Student Pages and other resources for PLT’s activities. See https://www.plt.org/resources/resources-for-plt-lessons.

  • If you had previously signed up to access GreenSchools content on PLT’s old website, you are already registered on the new site and you do not therefore need to create a new user name and password.
  • For all others, please go to www.plt.org/login to register.

Your email address will be added to National PLT’s Branch e-newsletter distribution list. You can expect to receive nine issues a year. If you do not wish to receive emails from National PLT, simply unsubscribe to stop receiving these emails.

 

October 2016

TED-ED Create a lesson

Looking for a way to incorporate more technology into your classroom? TED-ED allows you to create a custom lesson around any TED-ED Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video. Once you create a free account, simply search the topic you want to develop a lesson around and use the TED-ED tool to create and publish your lesson.

Global Forest Watch

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 activities “Forest Consequences,” “Tropical Treehouse,” and “The Global Climate,” plus PLT’s secondary modules: Biodiversity, Focus on Forests activities “Monitoring Forest Health,” “Story of Succession,” “Climate Change and Forests,” and Forests of the World activities “Making the Global Connection,” “Mapping the World’s Forests,” “Analyzing Patterns of Forest Change,” and “Researching Forests Around the World”)

Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an interactive online forest monitoring and alert system designed to better visualize forest change across the globe. GFW provides contextual data that fleshes out complex issues surrounding deforestation, acts as a primary resource for student research, and can be utilized by teachers for classroom demonstrations and activities.

Guide to Energy on Earth

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 activity “Energy Sleuths,” plus PLT’s Energy & Society kit and PLT’s GreenSchools Energy Investigation)

The global demand for energy continues to increase. But where does energy come from, and where does it go? These are just some of the questions that you can help your students answer with this Guide to Energy on Earth by the U.S. Department of Energy. This online lesson guide includes a short video, questions for discussion, as well as additional resources to explore the topic further.  

Garden Education Resources

(resource for PLT’s Early Childhood GreenSchools School Site Investigation)

The USDA Team Nutrition website contains a comprehensive list of resources for early childhood educators looking to promote better nutrition through gardening. The resources include activity kits, lesson plans, a fact sheet, videos, and a farm and garden online training. All resources were produced by reputable universities and organizations with the common goal of forming healthy habits amongst pre-school age students.

Bird Quest

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 activities “Charting Diversity,” “Trees as Habitats,” “Birds and Worms” and PLT’s Biodiversity secondary module)

This booklet from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdSleuth program helps K-12 students participate in citizen science bird projects by guiding them through six challenges using resources from eBird. The tasks include getting comfortable with eBird citizen science, using online resources to find your state bird, looking for birds that fit into different groups, practicing bird counting and entering data online, extracting data from eBird about local birds, and taking action to improve bird habitat in your area.

 

September 2016

Early Childhood Education Resources
(resource for PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood program)
Are you looking to tap into the Early Childhood education arena? Visit All Education Schools’ clearinghouse of early childhood education resources to explore professional organizations, licensing and credentials, reliable research, educator blogs, and more – all related to Early Childhood. Whether you’re just embarking on an early childhood education career or already work with children, you’ll find plenty of useful information.

BirdSleuth Explorer’s Guidebook
(resource for PreK-8’s “Trees as Habitats,” “Sounds Around,” and “Schoolyard Safari)
Use this booklet from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to support specific PLT lessons. The BirdSleuth Guidebook offers step-by-step instructions to enable families, school groups, and others to get outdoors and connect with nature. Go on a habitat scavenger hunt (Trees as Habitats), create a sound map (Sounds Around), and identify backyard species (Schoolyard Safari and Name That Tree).

How Electricity Works Infographic
(resource for PreK-8’s “Energy Sleuths,” PLT’s Energy & Society Kit, and PLT’s GreenSchools program)
Help students understand the science of electricity with this animated infographic from SaveOnEnergy.com. It includes the basics of electricity all the way to how we harness this power to fuel homes, schools, hospitals and more.

EPA’s WaterSense Kids Website
(resource for PreK-8’s “Every Drop Counts” and PLT’s GreenSchools program)
The Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Kids website teaches elementary and middle level students about the importance of water and why we need to conserve it. Test knowledge with an online animation, or identify simple water solutions to use water wisely.

Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grants
Deadline: October 15, 2016
The Seeds for Education Grant Program offers $100 and $500 to schools, nature centers, and nonprofit organizations to support stewardship projects. Projects should focus on native plants and cultivate students’ appreciation for nature.

 

July 2016

Introduction to Bundling the NGSS
This archived, one-hour webinar serves as an introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Recorded June 28, 2016, a group of experts who helped develop the standards discuss the principles of bundling for instruction. Download the slide deck and access available example bundles.

Together with the NGSS Example Bundles Guide, these tools can help teachers, administrators, and curriculum developers as they begin the process of creating the full range of aligned instructional materials that schools and districts need for implementation.

The full suite of example bundles will be released in stages over the next few months and will ultimately cover all grade levels. Each release cycle will include information geared toward different grade levels to ensure that curriculum developers for science have a broad set of examples to consider in preparation for the 2016-17 school year.

Nature-Based Preschool Conference
Hosted by NAAEE and the Natural Start Alliance, the Nature-Based Preschool National Conference brings professionals together from around the country to advance the movement to use nature to improve early childhood education, and to create a community for this new and growing profession. This year’s conference will be held August 15 – 17 at the Dodge Nature Center and Preschool in St. Paul, MN.

National PLT is partnering with Minnesota PLT to present Activity 2: Sounds Around from PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood. Visit Coordinators Corner to access the presentation proposal, or review PLT’s supporting Branch newsletter article written by MN PLT Outstanding Educator, Karen Christenson for more ideas! Session proposals for this event are due at the end of February each year.

Color the World!

(resource for PreK-8’s “Web of Life,” “Trees as Habitats,” “The Forest of S.T. Shrew,” “Habitat Pen Pals,” “Charting Diversity,” “Schoolyard Safari,” and more)
Coloringnature.org offers more than 500 realistically illustrated coloring pages that can be downloaded and printed for use in preK-8 classrooms. Choose from categories such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, animal homes, biomes and habitats, and trees. Consider pairing the pages with PLT activities as diagrams, models, or assessment tools.

School Gardens Fact Sheet
(resource for PreK-8’s “Pass the Plants, Please” and “Plant a Tree,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools and GreenWorks! programs)
This USDA resource titled School Gardens: Using Gardens to Grow Healthy Habits in Cafeterias, Classrooms, and Communities provides a brief overview of the benefits and educational uses of school gardens. It includes links to successful school garden programs and tips for planning, staffing, funding and maintaining a school garden.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Low-Income Communities
(resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not?,” “Energy Sleuths,” “The Global Climate,” “In the Driver’s Seat,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools and GreenWorks! programs)
Investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate protection programs is an important way for state and local governments to provide a variety of benefits to low-income communities, including energy cost savings, job creation, improved air quality, and healthier homes. EPA’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Low-Income Communities guide helps state and local staff connect with local and national initiatives that can assist them in expanding or developing their own EE and climate initiatives in ways that benefit low-income communities.

Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation Grants
Deadline: August 12, 2016
These $1,500 grants help educators develop and test holistic environmental curricula that integrate field activities with classroom teaching. Proposed projects should incorporate basic ecological principles, encourage students to solve environmental problems, and present controversial issues objectively. The grants would be a perfect pairing for any PLT-related investigation or field study. One page pre-proposals are due Friday, August 12.

 

June 2016

Southeastern Forests and Climate Change Module Videos
To further increase the usability of PLT’s Southeastern Forests and Climate Change module, two narrated video presentations are now available online. They are both listed in the Educator Resources section of the website (free registration required) and detailed below:

  • Module Overview – This short presentation briefly introduces the module and explains how educators might successfully implement the teaching materials.
  • Matching the Module to Educational Standards – This presentation provides information on how the module activities can meet standardized benchmarks.

daily dose of treesGet Your Daily Dose of Trees Poster
This Minnesota DNR poster highlights the mental and physical health benefits of trees. For example, did you know childhood asthma rates are lower in urban neighborhoods that have more trees? Or, exposure to forests decreases mental fatigue by relaxing and restoring the brain? It’s true. Learn more about why you should get your daily dose of trees to be healthy. Poster dimensions are 13″x19″. Download the poster for free, and hang it in your office or school today! As a bonus, you can use this handy trees-health benefits video to enhance the poster’s educational value.

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
(resource for PreK-8’s “Resource Go Round,” “A Few of My Favorite Things,” “Make Your Own Paper” and more)
Join National Public Radio’s Planet Money team as they follow the manufacturing of a T-Shirt around the world — from the farms where the cotton is grown to the factories where the shirts are sewn together. This story is told in a 5-chapter story of video clips: http://apps.npr.org/tshirt/#/title

Paper Plate Habitat
(resource for PreK-8’s “The Forest of S.T. Shrew” and “Trees as Habitats,” as well as the Meeting Neighborhood Trees section of Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood)
Florida PLT has created a Paper Plate Habitat template to be used in conjunction with the exploration of microhabitats. This document contains a list of materials, instructions, and images necessary for students to create their own Paper Plate Habitats and begin exploring the life and interrelationships found within.

Rooted in Math
(resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not,” “Every Drop Counts,” and “The Shape of Things,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools program)
The theme for EE Week this year is “Greening STEM: Rooted in Math”. Use this infographicfrom NEEF to make some quick calculations, such as the number of gallons of water you use every time you take a shower, or the pounds of CO2 emissions by a lightbulb. Register for EE Week to receive discounts, grant opportunities, and more educational resources.

Nature Maestro® App Series 
(resource for PreK-8’s “Sounds Around” and PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood)
With Nature Maestro®, sound recordist and composer Dennis Hysom is your guide. Use this series of applications to explore sounds in nature. You might compose a soundscape for the rainforest, build a nature scene using audio paired with imagery, and discover fun facts about animals all along the way. Immerse yourself in these biomes to compose and share creative soundscapes and then share them with others.

Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
Climate Generation’s 2016 Summer Institute will provide middle school and high school teachers the resources and training to teach about climate change, using the Next Generation Science Standards. Participants will hear from experts and share ideas about bringing climate education into the classroom. The program offers two graduate credits and will take place at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, June 21-24, with housing available.

The Awesome Foundation Grant
Deadline: Rolling, Applications Reviewed Monthly 
The Awesome Foundation provides $1,000 grants to projects that bring communities together. “Awesome projects” are defined as sparking “an instant of joy and delight and inspiring a long-term hope for a more awesome future.” Anyone can apply and requests are reviewed monthly by chapter location.

PLT GreenWorks! Grants
Deadline: September 30, 2016
Project Learning Tree is offering grants up to $1,000 to involve students in service-learning projects to improve the environment at their school or in their community. To be eligible, applicants must have attended a PLT workshop (either in-person or online) that includes training, lesson plans, and other resources to help integrate these projects and environmental education into school’s curriculum or youth programs. Note: Only PLT’s PreK-8 and Early Childhood Online Courses meet the online training eligibility requirements.

May 2016

GRANTS

PLT GreenWorks! Grants
Deadline: September 30, 2016
Project Learning Tree is offering grants up to $1,000 to involve students in service-learning projects to improve the environment at their school or in their community. To be eligible, applicants must have attended a PLT workshop (either in-person or online) that includes training, lesson plans, and other resources to help integrate these projects and environmental education into school curriculum or youth programs. Please note, only PLT’s PreK-8 and Early Childhood Online Courses meet the online training eligibility requirements.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

PLT Professional Development Also Online!
Can’t make it to an in-person workshop? Project Learning Tree now offers online workshops for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide, Early Childhood, and GreenSchools. Each course consists of “coursels” (i.e. 20-30 minute learning experiences); demonstrations of select PLT lessons using video of teachers conducting the activity with their students, as well as game-like simulations; and lesson planning exercises to help you plan how to facilitate PLT’s activities with your own students. As part of each course, you’ll have access to PLT’s curriculum materials online (print copies are available for purchase for an additional fee). State-specific information and professional development credits are available in some states. For more information, visit http://shop.plt.org.

Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
Climate Generation’s 2016 Summer Institute will provide middle school and high school teachers the resources and training to teach about climate change, using the Next Generation Science Standards. Participants will hear from experts and share ideas about bringing climate education into the classroom. The program offers two graduate credits and will take place at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, June 21-24, with housing available.

Digital Notebook Template
(resource for Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 activities “Adopt a Tree,” “Rain Reasons,” “Signs of Fall,” “Nothing Succeeds Like Succession,” and many more)
Want to go paperless in your classroom and experiment with digital note keeping? Read educator Nick Mitchell’s Scientific Teacher blog for ideas to transform the way you and your students take notes. This blog details using digital notebooks in the classroom, including basic information on why digital notebooks are useful and how to get started with free existing, provided templates.

INFOGRAPHICS

Rooted in Math
(resource for Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 activities “Renewable or Not,” “Every Drop Counts,” and “The Shape of Things,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools program)
The theme for EE Week (April 17-23) this year is “Greening STEM: Rooted in Math”. Use this infographic from NEEF to make some quick calculations, such as the number of gallons of water you use every time you take a shower, or the pounds of CO2 emissions by a lightbulb. Register for EE Week to receive discounts, grant opportunities, and more educational resources.

An Animated Guide to the Science of Wind Turbines
(resource for Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 activities “Renewable or Not” and “Energy Sleuths,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! program)
While the science behind wind powered turbines may seem modern day, the concept has been around for millennia. Its predecessor, the simple windmill, can be traced as far back as 200 B.C. when it was used for farm work, such as grinding grain and drawing water. Have you ever wondered what keeps the massive propellers of today’s wind turbines in motion? Check out SaveOnEnergy’s animated infographic to learn more about how wind turbines work.

INTERACTIVE MAPS

Recycle City
(resource for Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 activities “Renewable or Not,” “Nature’s Recyclers,” “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” “A Look at Aluminum,” and PLT’s GreenSchools! program)
EPA’s Recycle City’s interactive website showcases an interactive map, scavenger hunt, and game that all explore ways homes and businesses can recycle, reuse, or reduce waste. Use this website to spark interesting discussions around waste and recycling in places and spaces where students can have direct impacts.

Tell Your Water Story
(resource for Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 activities “Water Wonders” and “Every Drop Counts,” and PLT’s GreenSchools! program)
The H2yOu website aims to inspire people to care for and conserve our shared global water resource. On H2yOu’s interactive map, students can share stories about where they get their water from, why it’s important, and what they’re doing to conserve it. Student stories from around the world appear in narrative form, and pieces of artwork, poetry, or song.

APPS

Nature Maestro® App Series 
(resource for Project Learning Tree’s PreK-8 activities “Sounds Around” and PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood)
Use this series of applications to explore sounds in nature. With Nature Maestro®, sound recordist and composer Dennis Hysom is your guide. Immerse yourself in different biomes (the rainforest, for example) and compose a soundscape or build a nature scene using audio paired with imagery. Along the way, you’ll discover fun facts about animals.

CITIZEN SCIENCE

Project BudBurst
(resource for Project Learning Tree’s GreenSchools School Site Investigation, as well as many other PLT PreK-8 activities, especially “Bursting Buds,” “Looking At Leaves,” and “Signs of Fall.”)
Project BudBurst is a network of people across the country that monitors plants as the seasons change. This Spring, use Project Learning Tree activities to get your students outside, and use Project BudBurst to help them see how their seasonal observations about plants compare to those being made all across the country. In addition to collecting scientifically useful data such as first leafing, first flower, and first fruit, students will understand the impacts of changing climates on plants and their phenology. Read more.

 

April 2016

GRANTS

PLT GreenWorks! Grants
Deadline: September 30, 2016
Project Learning Tree is offering grants up to $1,000 to involve students in service-learning projects to improve the environment at their school or in their community. To be eligible, applicants must have attended a PLT workshop (either in-person or online) that includes training, lesson plans, and other resources to help integrate these projects and environmental education into school curriculum or youth programs. Note: Only PLT’s PreK-8 and Early Childhood Online Courses meet the online training eligibility requirements.

EJK Foundation Mini-Grants
Deadline: March 31, 2016
The Ezra Jack Keats (EJK) Foundation, named for the children’s book author and illustrator, provides $500 grants to public schools, preschools, and libraries with creative, innovative programs that support or extend the Common Core. Projects should foster creative collaboration and diverse communities.

CLASSROOM RESOURCES

Recycle City
(resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not,” “Nature’s Recyclers,” “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” “A Look at Aluminum,” and PLT’s GreenSchools! program)
EPA’s Recycle City’s interactive website showcases an interactive map, scavenger hunt, and game that all explore ways homes and businesses can recycle, reuse, or reduce waste. Use this website to spark interesting discussions around waste and recycling in places and spaces where students can have direct impacts.

Tell Your Water Story
(resource for PreK-8’s “Water Wonders” and “Every Drop Counts,” and PLT’s GreenSchools! program)
The H2yOu website aims to inspire people to care for and conserve our shared global water resource. On H2yOu’s interactive map, students can share stories about where they get their water from, why it’s important, and what they’re doing to conserve it. Student stories from around the world appear in narrative form, and pieces of artwork, poetry, or song.

Digital Notebook Template
(resource for PreK-8’s “Adopt a Tree,” “Rain Reasons,” “Signs of Fall,” “Nothing Succeeds Like Succession,” and many more)
Want to go paperless in your classroom and experiment with digital note keeping? Read educator Nick Mitchell’s Scientific Teacher blog for ideas to transform the way you and your students take notes. This blog details using digital notebooks in the classroom, including basic information on why digital notebooks are useful and how to get started with free existing, provided templates.

An Animated Guide to the Science of Wind Turbines

(resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not” and “Energy Sleuths,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! program)
While the science behind wind powered turbines may seem modern day, the concept has been around for millennia. Its predecessor, the simple windmill, can be traced as far back as 200 B.C. when it was used for farm work, such as grinding grain and drawing water. Have you ever wondered what keeps the massive propellers of today’s wind turbines in motion? Check out SaveOnEnergy’s animated infographic to learn more about how wind turbines work.

 

March 2016

GRANTS

Green Education Program Grants
Deadline: Applications Accepted Year-Round
The Alternative Fuel Foundation provides grants of $250-500 to forward-thinking schools with projects that use alternative fuels and promote sustainability. Those that encourage parent involvement and build community spirit are preferred. Nonprofit public and private K-12 schools and their associated parent groups are eligible.

EJK Foundation Mini-Grants
Deadline: March 31, 2016
The Ezra Jack Keats (EJK) Foundation, named for the children’s book author and illustrator, provides $500 grants to public schools, preschools, and libraries with creative, innovative programs that support or extend the Common Core. Projects should foster creative collaboration and diverse communities.

LITERATURE CONNECTIONS

Epic! For Educators
(Resource for PreK-8’s “The Forest of S.T. Shrew,” “How Plants Grow,” “The Closer You Look,” and many more as well as PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood)
Are you looking for new literature connections to support your favorite PLT lessons? This growing Epic! online library offers thousands of picture books, chapter books, early readers, and even nonfiction books (think Common Core Connections!) that elementary teachers can access free of cost. Registered users receive unlimited access to books and customized recommendations for readers’ age levels and interests. Epic! is available for iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.

EXPLORING CAREERS WITH STUDENTS

Order Free Scientist Cards from Natural Inquirer
(Resource for PreK-8’s “A Forest of Many Uses,” “Who Works in this Forest?,” “Forests for the Trees,” “People, Places, Things,” and many more)
Natural Inquirer is now accepting free orders for their Scientist Card sets, directly from their web site. Individual orders are limited to either one full pack (100 cards) or up to 3 of the smaller packs (Women in Science, Classroom set, and Wildlife Scientists). The smaller packs all contain 30 cards a piece. Use these cards to connect PLT lessons to actionable careers!

Conservation Connect Videos
(Resource for PreK-8’s “Web of Life,” “Habitat Pen Pals,” and “400-Acre Wood”)
Connect your students with conservation professionals using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new video series. Each 5-7 minute episode features a specialist and footage of a species. For example, during one episode, an educational specialist discusses manatee behavior and shows footage of manatees, followed by a law enforcement officer who demonstrates the use of high tech tools used to arrest wildlife poachers. Visit the FWS website to find a video of interest to you and your students.

LearnForests.org Career Videos
(resource for PreK-8’s “A Forest of Many Uses,” “Forest Consequences,” and “Who Works in this Forest” as well as Focus on Forests’ “Monitoring Forest Health”)
Check out the Oregon-based website LearnForests.org for a compilation of nearly 30 videos targeting Grades 4-12 about careers in the forest sector. In addition to valuable career insights, the videos contain various forest facts that are both interesting and informational. The first-person accounts of those who currently have forest careers provide an insightful resource for those considering a future in the field of forestry.

GREENSCHOOLS RESOURCES

EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator 
(resource for PreK-8’s “Plant a Tree,” “Waste Watchers,” “The Global Climate,” and “In the Driver’s Seat,” Forest of the World’s “Seeking Sustainability” and “Making Consumer Choices,”  and PLT’s GreenSchools program)
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides an interactive carbon footprint calculator designed for use by students in middle or high school. The calculator begins by asking students to investigate some baseline data points, such as their average home energy usage, transportation habits, and waste disposal process. Then, the calculator offers tangible conservation tips alongside estimated annual savings. This is an excellent tool for making home connections, as well as a complement to PLT GreenSchools!

HIGH SCHOOL RESOURCES

The Boom – Text on Fracking
(resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not” and “Our Changing World,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools program and Energy & Society Kit)
Are you looking for support in investigating fracking and other energy issues with high school students? Russell Gold, senior energy reporter for the Wall Street Journal, chronicles the history and rise of the fracking industry in his 2014 book, The Boom. This informational text delves into the pros and cons of the controversial energy extraction technique while offering various perspectives on the subject.  An accompanying Classroom Guide offers critical thinking questions that are an essential learning tool for students.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Master of Science in Ecological Teaching and Learning
Deadline to Apply: April 1, 2016
Lesley University offers a Master’s degree designed specifically for educators in schools, museums, nature centers, and other teaching settings. The M.S. in Ecological Teaching and Learning is an 18-month program that integrates summer field experiences with online learning, enabling many students to continue working full-time while completing the degree. Field experiences are conducted in the Northeastern United States. Direct any questions to Dan Kennedy, Admissions Counselor: dkenned4@lesley.edu; 617-349-8265 (direct).

 

February 2016

The Boom – Text on Fracking
(resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not” and “Our Changing World,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! program and Energy & Society Kit)
Are you looking for support in investigating fracking and other energy issues with high school students? Russell Gold, senior energy reporter for the Wall Street Journal, chronicles the history and rise of the fracking industry in his 2014 book, The Boom. This informational text delves into the pros and cons of the controversial energy extraction technique while offering various perspectives on the subject. An accompanying Classroom Guide offers critical thinking questions that are an essential learning tool for students.

 

LearnForests.org Career Videos
(resource for PreK-8’s “A Forest of Many Uses,” “Forest Consequences,” and “Who Works in this Forest” as well as Focus on Forests’ “Monitoring Forest Health”)
Check out the Oregon-based website LearnForests.org for a compilation of nearly 30 videos targeting Grades 4-12 about careers in the forest sector. In addition to valuable career insights, the videos contain various forest facts that are both interesting and informational. The first-person accounts of those who currently have forest careers provide an insightful resource for those considering a future in the field of forestry.

 

January 2016

Bears of the World: Interactive Range Map
(resource for PreK-8’s “400-Acre Wood” and “Life on the Edge”, as well as PLT’s Biodiversity and Forests of the World secondary modules.)
Bear Trust International’s interactive world map shows students and educators in grades 9-12 where eight different species of wild bears live. The map includes photos and facts on American and Asiatic black bears, brown bears, giant pandas, polar bears, sloth bears, and sun bears.

 

Sustainability in Bioenergy: A Nation Connected
(resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not?” and PLT’s Energy & Society Kit)
This informative documentary, Sustainability in Bioenergy: A Nation Connected, produced by the US Department of Energy, highlights ongoing efforts in communities nationwide to develop, produce, and provide bioenergy. From farmers and families in the Midwest to researchers and business owners on the coasts, the video provides firsthand views and personal stories describing bioenergy-related projects and how they work to create new jobs and lessen humans’ impact on the environment.

 

Greener Blue Jeans
(resource for PreK-8’s “We All Need Trees,” “A Forest of Many Uses,” and “Who Works in this Forest?,” as well as PLT’s Biotechnology secondary module)
Who doesn’t like blue jeans? The indigo dye that provides their distinctive color holds up to detergents, but ages into that soft, worn look. Indigo is one of the oldest dyes used for coloring textiles. For thousands of years it was extracted from tropical plants in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, with various unpleasant side effects. This Berkeley University of California article describes the research involved in finding a cleaner route to produce the iconic dye.

 

 

Every Kid in a Park – Free Passes for 4th Graders

Every U.S. fourth grader can get a pass for free entry to most day-use park, land, forest, or water areas for the entire school year. Teachers can visit www.everykidinapark.gov to download passes for their class, and find lesson plans and activity sheets.

 

 

November 2015

Why Trees? Video
(Resource for PreK-8’s “Planning the Ideal Community,” “Pollution Search,” and “Improve Your Place,” PLT’s Places We Live secondary module, and PLT’s GreenSchools! program) 
As we know, trees represent more than just beautiful natural elements of our land, they also provide shade, manage water, stop erosion, protect streams, soothe the soul, clean the air, protect the quality and health of water, and attract homeowners, renters, and shoppers. Check out this Doodle Lecture created by Alabama Cooperative Extension that unveils the many benefits of having trees in our communities.

School Garden Checklist
(Resource for PreK-8’s “Plant a Tree,” “Soil Stories,” and “Pass the Plants, Please,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! and GreenWorks! service-learning programs) 
Planning to start a garden project? Download this step-by-step guide, provided by the Let’s Move! Presidential initiative, to ensure you won’t miss any information that could support the health of your garden. Detailed checklists offer tips about soil safety, site selection, overall design, plant palette, how to build and use the garden, and the importance of creating local partnerships and utilizing local resources.

Energy Zones Mapping Tool
(Resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not?,” “Energy Sleuths,” and “Our Changing World,” as well as PLT’s Energy & Society Kit, and GreenSchools! energy investigation) 
The Energy Zones Mapping Tool is a free online database that allows users to map existing and potential energy resources in the 39 easternmost states. Users can run site-suitability analyses for a variety of renewable energy sources, including biomass, solar, water, wind, natural gas, geothermal, and nuclear power. Regional, custom maps of existing energy resources and environmental characteristics that impact energy development can also be created using overlapping and interactive layers. This tool is hosted by the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council (EISPC), among other project partners.

Energy Literacy Videos from DOE 
(Resource for PreK-8’s “Renewable or Not?,” “Energy Sleuths,” and “Our Changing World,” as well as PLT’s Energy & Society Kit, and GreenSchools! energy investigation) 
Energy is an abstract and important concept that concerns all things on earth and plays a role in many natural and social science processes. Uncover the power of understanding energy by watching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Seven Principles of Energy Literacy video series. This series breaks down key information about energy’s functions including flow, amount, and quality, in addition to looking at how quality of life, economics, politics, and environment are affected by how we create and utilize energy.

Recycling Infographic
The amount of water used to produce a plastic water bottle can be up to 3x higher than the actual amount of water in the bottle. Use this infographic in conjunction with PLT’s Activity 83 “A Peek at Packaging” which you can download for free from www.plt.org/onlinePD as a sample of PLT’s PreK-8 Activity Guide.

 

October 2015

President’s Environmental Youth Award

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation’s youth.

Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of subject areas, including:

  • restoring native habitats
  • recycling in schools and communities
  • construction of nature preserves
  • tree planting
  • installing renewable energy projects
  • creating videos, skits and newsletters that focused on environmental issues
  • participating in many other creative sustainability efforts

Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that participation in the PEYA program is frequently a life-changing experience for many of the young people and their project sponsors.

In Spring 2015, the PEYA program was updated. The award portion was expanded to include awards for two age groups.

Applications are due December 31, 2015. 

A regional panel will review applications from each of EPA’s 10 regions. Up to two winners will be selected from each region – one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12.

http://www2.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award

Colorado Science Conference – November 20

The Colorado Science Conference provides professional development opportunities that strengthen science content and pedagogy, provide access to educational resources, and help build strong, professional networks that support the great work of science teachers across our state. We hope you can join us!  Register by November 6th for Early Bird Pricing!

http://www.coloradoscienceconference.org

 

 

Environmental Scholarships for Middle & High School Students

The GreenAllies Challenge is a national scholarship competition for middle and high school students. We hope that the competition will help students become leaders in the environmental movement. 

Students will choose to either start an environmental club in their school, or complete an environmental project with an existing club. GreenAllies will then pair them with a mentor from the GreenAllies organization, who will guide them through the process of completing a project and competing in the Challenge.

The winner of the Challenge will get a $1,000 scholarship, and $1,000 to continue their project! 

For more information, visit this webpage: http://www.greenalliesnetwork.org/#!contact/cudb

 

Front Range Bioneers Conference, October 23-25

Bioneers connects social and scientific innovators with breakthrough solutions for restoring people and  planet, for the purposes of network cultivation, cross ­pollination and the transfer of effective practices, models, technologies and key ideas. The 13th annual event includes a broadcast of the national Bioneers plenaries and is locally enriched with: art, networking, field trips, sessions, 40 workshops and 70 presenters addressing topics of regional importance and community solutions.  For more info and to register, visit http://www.colorado.edu/ecenter/bioneers

 

 

September 2015

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

PLT GreenWorks! Grants
Deadline: September 30
Project Learning Tree is now accepting applications for GreenWorks! ‎grants to help fund service-learning and environmental improvement projects. Schools, youth groups, nature centers, and other organizations are welcome to apply! Grants up to $1,000 are available, the deadline to apply is September 30th. Funding will be distributed in January 2016. To be eligible, applicants must have attended a PLT professional development workshop—either in person or online.

 

PRINT RESOURCES

gsposter

PLT’s GreenSchools! Poster
Available in print, as well as online, use this poster in your classroom to get students thinking about projects they could take on to green their school.

 

VIDEOS, APPS, AND GAMES

PBS KIDS PLUM LANDING
(resource for PreK-8’s “Trees as Habitats,” “Sounds Around,” “Planet Diversity,” “Earth Manners,” “Pollution Search,” and many more!)
A PBS KIDS environmental science project, PBS PLUM LANDING offers educators fun and engaging resources to get kids outside and connected to nature. PLT has partnered with PLUM LANDING to encourage kids to explore their local water systems, find out what happens to life in the desert, and investigate nature’s sounds and smells. Download PLUM LANDING’s free summer camp resources, including interactive games and videos.

Monitoring Freshwater Ecosystems App 
(resource for PreK-8’s “Every Drop Counts,” “Water Wonders,” and “Watch on Wetlands”, as well as Focus on Forests’ “Monitoring Forest Health” and “Forest to Faucet”)
This Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Lake Science app developed by UC Berkley’s The Lawrence Hall of Science allows users to participate in and facilitate activities that teach about freshwater ecosystems. For example, families and educators have the opportunity to view videos and discover what lies beneath the surface with an “Under the Lake” simulation. The DIY Lake Science app is all inclusive – material lists, instructions, and explanations of how to participate in a day of exploring inside or outside are readily available and are displayed in a detailed and informational format. This app is free on iTunes, available for iOS 7 and above.

Scratch
(resource for PreK-8’s “Adopt a Tree,” “The Closer You Look,” “Environmental Exchange Box,” and “Water Wonders,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! program and secondary modules)
Using Scratch, educators of all ages and levels can program interactive stories, games, and animations and share their creations in an online community. Click on For Educators to access tips and resources for using Scratch in the classroom, including an introductory video, how-to tutorials, and a webinar. Teacher can also join the ScratchEd community to connect and collaborate with other educators using Scratch.

 

 

August 2015

Let’s Play Outside Literacy Cards for ELLs
(resource for PLT’s “Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood”)
Check out this preschool picture book (literacy cards) of outdoor words and actions, created by the 
Collaborative Leadership Fellows Program at the University of Minnesota Rochester. The cards feature outdoor play action words such as “draw,” “climb,” and “jump” in multiple languages. The words are also depicted using an image and the language translations are available for English, Spanish, Chinese, Cambodian, Somali, and Arabic. The languages were selected based on high populations of individuals speaking them in the mid-western United States. Download the “Let’s Play Outside!” booklet to connect with English Language Learners (ELLs) near you!
Create Your Own Book App
(resource for PreK-8’s “Sounds Around,” “Adopt a Tree,” “Rain Reasons,” “Signs of Fall,” “Nothing Succeeds Like Succession,” and lots more!)
Be the author, illustrator, and editor of your own literary adventure with 
Book Creator, an app that can be downloaded for the iPad from the iTunes store. Book Creator allows anyone to create and share their own journals, text books, children’s picture books and photobooks that can be designed with a multitude of text and image formatting options. This app offers a variety of printing and electronic sharing options that help its customers of all ages distribute their books to relatives, friends, and colleagues.
Dawn Publications – If You Love Honey 
(resource for PreK-8’s “Habitat Pen Pals,” “Dynamic Duos,” “Web of Life,” “Schoolyard Safari” and Early Childhood’s “We All Need Trees”)
“If you love honey, then you must love honeybees” so says Dawn Publications’ children’s book,
 If You Love HoneyIf You Love Honey takes readers on an exploration through the benefits and beauty that prevail through the relationships of living, breathing organisms that co-exist in nature. The colorful illustrations and simple concepts help young minds foster curiosity and develop an appreciation for nature. This book explores the importance of oak trees, mushrooms, soil, earthworms, and more. Be sure to check out the end of the book for fun facts about pollinators, seed spreaders, and beneficial insects.
Webinar Series On Monarchs
Check out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Monarch Webinar Series.” These webinars are free and online, with no registration necessary.

Monarch LIVE! and PollinatorLIVE!– Tuesday, August 25 at 2pm EDT

Call to participate: 1-877-788-7289, and use participant passcode 83331950#

Join online: 
http://nctc.adobeconnect.com/monarchwebinar/ 

Journey North – Tuesday, September 1 at 2pm EDT

Call to participate: 1-877-788-7289, and use participant passcode 83331950#

Join online: 
http://nctc.adobeconnect.com/monarchwebinar/

Monarch Biology – Recording of Webinar One 

Presented by US Fish and Wildlife

Visit: 
http://nctc.adobeconnect.com/p4cdj3fryd4/

Monarchs in the Classroom – Recording of Webinar Two – Monarchs in the Classroom. 

Presented by Sarah Weaver, Monarchs in the Classroom Community Program Specialist 

Visit: 
http://nctc.adobeconnect.com/p64j9nyurid/

 

May 2015

National Geographic: Great Nature Project   (resource for PreK-8’s “Picture This!,” “Habitat Pen Pals,” “Planet Diversity,” and “Charting Diversity” as well as PLT’s Biodiversity module)  
Where will you be May 15-25, 2015? Take part in a global snapshot of biodiversity with National Geographic’s Great Nature Project. With just four simple steps (see it, snap it, share it, and identify it), you can become a citizen scientist by sharing the biodiversity you see and experience from your unique point of view. Over time, this annual event will provide data that can be used to answer scientific questions or provide useful information to decision makers. Try using the mobile iNaturalist app, which is versioned for Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Swedish. Get outside and share photos of your encounters with plants, animals, and fungi!
 
Invasive Paper Project  (resource for PreK-8’s “Nature’s Recyclers,” “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” “Invasive Species” and “Make Your Own Paper,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! program) 
The Invasive Paper Project travels throughout Detroit to offer papermaking demos and workshops with invasive plants (like Phragmites, Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard) that have been removed from city parks, lots, and green spaces in many different communities. This project creates community awareness about invasive plant species and their effects on local ecosystems, while also providing an opportunity to think about invasive plant life differently. While eradication is important, projects like this one allow participants to experiment with new uses and products from otherwise unwanted raw materials. Consider turning your next papermaking activity into a service-learning project by using invasive species pulp instead of paper scraps!
 
Federal Registry for Educational Excellence – Fire Safety  (resource for PreK-8’s “Forest for the Trees,” “Nothing Succeeds Like Succession,” and “Living with Fire”)
Review fire safety practices with information and resources from the U.S. Fire Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control. You’ll find information about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, kitchen safety, fire safety plans, and visits to a fire station. In addition, teachers can access online activities such as word searches, puzzles, and interactive quizzes that reinforce important fire safety messages.
NEA Student Achievement Grants
Deadline: June 1
The National Education Association (NEA) Foundation provides 
Student Achievement Grants to support work at public schools and universities that improves academic achievement and encourages critical thinking and problem solving in any subject area. Grants of $2,000 and $5,000 are awarded to programs that encourage inquiry, reflection, and self-directed learning. Funds are intended for student materials or educational experiences. PreK-12 public school teachers, public education support professionals, and faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education are encouraged to apply.
 
Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
The Will Steger Foundation is hosting its 10th Annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education June 15-17 in Apple Valley, MN. It is their premiere professional development opportunity of the year, and they have imbedded PLT training. Participants will:
  • Engage in hands-on activities using many climate change resources
  • Learn about how these curriculum resources support language arts, social studies, and science standards
  • Hear from experts in climate science, climate change education, and climate solutions
  • Receive training in Project Learning Tree and the special module on Southeastern Forests and Climate Change
Learn more on their website and consider registering today!

 

April 2015

Biointeractive’s Holiday Lectures on Science (resource for PreK-8’s “Planet Diversity,” “Charting Diversity,” and “Life on the Edge,” as well as PLT’s Biodiversity secondary module) Biointeractive’s Holiday Lectures on Science series brings current research into the classroom, bridging the gap between textbook science and real life science. The Biodiversity in the Age of Humans series asks powerful questions, such as: Are we witnessing a sixth mass extinction? What factors threaten ecosystems on land and in the sea? What are researchers doing to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems around the world? What tools do we have to avoid a global catastrophe? In six half-hour lectures, three leading scientists describe the state of biodiversity on our planet and how to face the great challenges that lie ahead.

Expedition: Insects (resource for PreK-8’s “Can it Be Real?,” “Habitat Pen Pals,” and “Dynamic Duos”) Giant deadly hornets, gorgeous fluttering butterflies and stealthy crawling stink bugs: discover these and more fascinating insects in Expedition: Insects, an e-book written, illustrated, and animated by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. Students will learn about six different types of insects in natural habitats around the world and how evolution and adaptation is responsible for the insects’ characteristics. Download an interactive version of the e-book for free on iBooks or read the non-interactive PDF version online.

Fruit and Vegetable Fact Sheets (resource for PreK-8’s “Pass the Plants, Please” and “We All Need Trees”) These fact sheets from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension’s Nutrition Education Program provide information about 30 fruits and vegetables. Each fact sheet includes an illustration of the fruit or vegetable along with nutrition information, uses, description, varieties, and where the fruit or vegetable was first cultivated. The sheets could be incorporated into K-12 biology, health, or nutrition lessons or shared with students’ families to help promote healthy eating habits.

March 2015

Advancing Environmental Education Conference (Teaching Outside the Box) – Explore Research, Elevate Practice, Spark CollaborationFriday, March 27 – Saturday March 28, 2015; Auroria Campus – Denver. Join the Advancing EE Conference (Teaching Outside the Box) to explore, elevate and spark environmental education through a variety of session topics, inspiring speakers, and many opportunities for networking and discovering new ideas, tools and techniques. More information and registration at Annual Advancing Environmental Education Conference.

Digital Game: The Ruby Realm (resource for PreK-8’s “Air Plants,” “How Plants Grow,” “Sunlight and Shades of Green,” “Tree Factory,” and more) The Ruby Realm is a multi-level adventure game about photosynthesis. Players must navigate a cavern in search of missing friends. Luckily, Biobot Bob–a robot powered by artificial photosynthesis–is there to help players fend off evil enemies. Players must find light sources where Bob can generate the glucose he needs for power. Using Bob’s Molecule Replicator, they shoot light beams at carbon dioxide and water molecules, breaking them apart and recombining the atoms to form glucose. Through these and similar actions, the game helps students construct an understanding of photosynthesis by letting them actively participate in the process of chemical change.

Free iPad App: Ferret  (resource for PreK-8’s “Picture This!, “Habitat Pen Pals,” and “Charting Diversity”) This free, interactive iPad app teaches children how to classify animals in a series of taps and swipes. Ferret marries science and design, allowing children to discover and learn about select species. The app allows students to “build” animals using a periodic table-like classification system, and in doing so, describe their distinct characteristics.

STEM Design Challenge: Edible Cars (resource for PreK-8’s “In the Driver’s Seat” and PLT’s Energy & Society Kit) The Teaching Channel is a video showcase — on the Internet and TV— of innovative and effective teaching practices in America’s schools. One of many STEM design challenges, Edible Cars showcases how teachers and students might integrate science, engineering, technology, and math—along with creativity and art.

Energy e-Books (resource for PLT’s GreenSchools! energy investigation and Energy & Society Kit) Stamford University and KQED public media have created digital textbooks for high school students and lifelong learners. Offering a broad introduction to the topic of energy, these multimedia e-books—Energy: The Basics and Energy: Use and Efficiency—feature animations, in-depth articles, and a glossary of energy terms, along with videos exploring topics such as geothermal energy, the solar power industry, and the diverse careers in the renewable energy field. Access the e-Books and a companion iTunes University course.

February 2015

Design a more natural playground!   The National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Learning Initiative has released Nature Play & Learning Places: Creating and Managing Places Where Children Engage with Nature, a definitive 192-page illustrated guide to nature play design. Most children’s playgrounds are metal, plastic, concrete and devoid of nature. These guidelines show how to create a new type of nature play and learning area with trees, shrubs, flowers, and natural materials so that children and families can experience and appreciate wildlife and nature at every place they use in every community.

Free 8-week Online Course about Water in the West  The course comprises 8 weekly modules, each featuring one or more lectures of about 20 minutes by various Colorado State University water faculty.  Modules include topics such as:  Water Conflicts, Irrigated Agriculture, Groundwater, Energy, Urban Stormwater Management, Climate Change, Snow, Water for Aquatic Ecosystems, Physical Complexity in Headwater Streams, Water-related Disasters, Water as a Human Right, Coping with Global Water Scarcity. Along with the lectures are links for recommended readings, interactive activities, other related CSU resources, discussion forums, and quizzes.  There’s even a fun section on water, music, and art. Course starts Feb. 16. For more information visit Water, Civilization, and Nature.

January 2015

Nature Based Preschool National Conference August 19-22, 2015 in Gainesville, GA This conference is for educators and administrators who operate–or who want to operate–nature-based preschools, and allows these specialized educators to network, learn, and propel the field forward. This year’s conference will be held in conjunction with the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) Annual Summit in Gainesville, GA, at the Elachee Nature Science Center and Nature Preschool Elachee, which is less than an hour from Atlanta.

December 2015

Get Updated on the Latest Threat to Colorado’s Urban Trees!  The emerald ash borer is one of the latest exotic species creating havoc in Colorado’s forests.  How big of an impact will it have? Where has it already been found?  How do you detect and treat infected trees?  Get a quick primer on this invasive insect with the CSFS Quick Guide. Concerned? Sign up for the PLT Workshop for Secondary Teachers: Emerald Ash Borer on February 28 at the Colorado Department of Agriculture in Broomfield. Visit our workshops page to register! Finally, get in the mood by creating your own EAB model.

FREE online course – EECapacity for Public Garden Educators; Deadline: January 18, 2015; Course: January 19 – February 27, 2015.  This new EECapacity six-week professional development course is designed to help guide public garden educators as they develop outreach programs aimed at improving environmental awareness among their adult and youth constituents.  Topics covered during the course will include green community redevelopment, promoting environmental justice, and introducing children to ecological concepts underlying climate change.  Register at: http://www.eecapacity.net/training- networking/events/eecapacity-public-garden-educator

Looking for ideas and content for newsletters?  Try including some Nature Activities for Families. The American Forest Foundation has modified some PLT activities to make them family-friendly and accessible to a wider, more general audience.  You’ve probably done many of these activities with your students; now encourage their families to get outside and learn them too!

November 2014

Life: Magnified   (resource for PreK-8’s “The Closer You Look” and “The Shape of Things”) Life: Magnified is an exhibit of scientific images showing cells and other scenes of life magnified by as much as 50,000 times. The exhibit is on display at Washington Dulles International Airport’s Gateway Gallery from June through November 2014. The supporting Life: Magnified website features high-resolution versions of all 46 images in the collection along with longer captions than in the airport exhibit. In this online gallery, you’ll see cells from all around the body—brain, blood, eye, skin, liver, muscle. Each type of cell teaches different lessons about how life works.

The Water Cycle by USGS (resource for PreK-8’s “Every Drop Counts,” “Water Wonders,” and “Watch on Wetlands,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! Water Investigation) This interactive water cycle diagram produced by the US Geological Survey and the United Nations allows you to “mouse around” the parts of the water cycle and view explanations, pictures, and more. Available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students, the diagram introduces an increasing number of terms at each level. PDF and jpg versions of the diagrams are also available for download and printing.

RadTown USA (resource for PreK-8’s “Air We Breathe”, “Focus on Risk” module, and PLT GreenSchools! programs) EPA’s Radiation Protection Program has launched the RadTown USA website, created to allow middle and high school students to explore radiation- where it is found and how it is used- in four different environments. The website also has Common Core supported content, including the history of radiation protection, ways to reduce exposure risk, careers in radiation protection, and the benefits of radiation.

October 2014

Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas in Virginia – Webinar and PowerPoint  (resource for PreK-8’s “Energy Sleuths,” and “Our Changing World,” as well as PLT’s GreenSchools! Energy Investigation, and PLT’s Energy & Society Kit)

Hydraulic fracturing has been used in the oil and gas industry for over 50 years, but in the past decade it has been combined with the relatively new technique of horizontal drilling to gain access to previously inaccessible energy resources. This webinar focuses on hydraulic fracturing in Virginia and the laws, regulations, and agencies governing its use. The PowerPoint slides that accompany this webinar are also available for teacher use.

Digital Game: The Ruby Realm  (resource for PreK-8’s “Air Plants,” “How Plants Grow,” “Sunlight and Shades of Green,” “Tree Factory,” and more) The Ruby Realm is a multi-level adventure game about photosynthesis. Players must navigate a cavern in search of missing friends. Luckily, Biobot Bob– a robot powered by artificial photosynthesis– is there to help payers fend off evil enemies. Players must find light sources where Bob can generate the glucose he needs for power. Using Bob’s Molecule Replicator, they shoot light beams at carbon dioxide and water molecules, breaking them apart and recombining the atoms to form glucose. Through these and similar actions, the game helps students construct an understanding of photosynthesis by letting them actively participate in the process of chemical change.

STEM Design Challenge: Edible Cars (resource for PreK-8’s “In the Driver’s Seat” and PLT’s Energy & Society Kit) The Teaching Channel is a video showcase — on the Internet and TV — of innovative and effective teaching practices in America’s schools. One of many STEM design challenges, Edible Cars showcases how teachers and students might integrate science, engineering, technology, and math—along with creativity and art.